Making common cause

 With ordinary people & salaried class

6

Although it is a tad late for the government to spring into action yet it is not too late if they were to stem the ever rising tide of infl ation. Prime Minister Imran Khan this Sunday said his government would take steps to reduce the prices of basic food items.

Through a tweet, he said: “I understand the diffi culties ordinary people [including] salaried class are confronting and have decided, come what may, my govt will be announcing various measures that will be taken to reduce prices of basic food items for the common man in cabinet on Tuesday.” He assured of an “in-depth probe” into the price hike of essential commodities such as sugar and fl our. And said, in no uncertain terms, that all those responsible will be held accountable and penalized. According to a report, the economic team that met the PM was told that if they were not able to off er relief to the people they have no right to stay in the government.

It was a high profi le meeting that was at- tended by Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Minister for Economic Aff airs Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Maritime Aff airs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Special Assistant to the PM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Development Zulfi Bukhari, senior PTI leaders Jahangir Tareen and Shahbaz Gill at Banigala.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics the infl ation has risen to 14.6 per cent in January from 12.6 per cent in the previous month, the highest in 12 years. The food infl ation has touched 25 per cent which means every individual will need to spend Rs 100 extra for every 400 rupees. The data shows huge price increase in wheat and fl our, pulses, sugar, gur and edible oil. Interestingly the price hike has not benefi ted in any way the farmers of this country. It is only the middlemen who have amassed money through hoarding and creating an artifi cial shortage. Or those exporters who without caring two coppers for the local demand and fl outing the export policy have been exporting the products, leaving the country in a mess and giving a bad name to the government. Some analysts are of the view that the hoarders and exporters are from within the ranks of the PTI and that was one reason there was neither any meaningful inquiry nor any action against the culprits. In the past, the PM was of the view that infl ation does not take place in a vacuum; it rather was a result of corruption and plundering by the rulers of the day. If anything that logic is proving right for his own government. The cabinet meeting that promises action is to be held tomorrow. We shall know either an action, swift and visible, or the government must announce their exit.